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ARB's overstepping of role is what disturbs

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David Rothmire misses the point in crowing that he was checked out on the ARB register (AJ 10.3.05).

No one would object to the ARB if it restricted its operations to the minimalist role as envisaged in a public consultation paper issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 19 July 1994, which said: 'The main objective of the reforms is to create a small, focused and effective registration body which represents the interests of both the profession and the general public. Its purpose would be to: set criteria for admission to the register; prevent misuse of the title architect;

discipline unprofessional conduct; and set fee levels. ' In November you published a letter signed by three RIBA past presidents (AJ 11.11.05), in which they complained that the ARB had revised its rules to inhibit the democratically elected minority component of the board: the architects.

These include the following:

lResolutions of the board may be passed without there being a meeting of the board.

Once authorised, the chief executive may act on behalf of the board without any further reference or report back.

Any or all of the elected members may be removed from office by the appointed members voting en bloc.

The registrar, who is also the board' s chief executive, may alter candidates' election statements while at the same time continuing as the electoral returning officer.

Candidates for election who fail to provide an undertaking that they will not make any public comment that would call any past or present decision of the board into question will automatically be disqualified from standing.

Commenting on these rule changes, the RIBA said that there was a lack of checks and balances, and of any appeal process.

Its advice was not heeded.

The changes have the effect of further concentrating the decision-making power into the hands of the registrar and the chairman. If Rothmire is concerned for the future of the profession, these are facts that should disturb him also.

Kate Macintosh, Finch Macintosh Architects

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